Studies Assess Newspaper Coverage of Minority Health Disparities, Racial, Gender Implications of Body Weight
The following summarizes studies on minority health from the October issue of the Journal of the National Medical Association.
- "National Newspaper Coverage of Minority Health Disparities": The study assesses newspaper coverage of minority health disparities in the U.S. For the study, researchers Anouk Amzel and Chandak Ghosh of the Department of General Pediatrics at Morgan Stanley Children-s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian performed a LexisNexis news search for articles related to health disparities published in 257 newspapers between 2000 and 2004. During the time period, 1,188 articles -- 0.09% of all articles during that time period -- related to minority health disparities were published. Most were about conferences, meetings and speeches by public health officials and politicians. Health disparities related to cancer, cardiovascular disease and HIV/AIDS received the most coverage, according to the study. Health disparities coverage involving blacks made up 60.4% of all such articles. Researchers said, "Despite the release of major organizational reports and the publication of many studies confirming the prevalence of [minority health disparities], few newspaper articles have been published explaining [them] to the public." Researchers said that if more U.S. citizens understood that minority health disparities exist, "they may galvanize to advocate for disparity elimination and quality improvement" (Amzel/Ghosh, JNMA, October 2007).
- "One Size Fits All? Race, Gender and Body Mass Index Among U.S. Adults": The study examined the effect race and gender have on body mass index. Using data from the American Changing Lives Survey conducted by the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center in 1986, researchers studied a sample of 3,497 black and white, male and female adults. They found that BMI was associated with a number of factors, including employment status, chronic illness, financial status and religion. Race and gender as factors influencing BMI varied greatly, however, according to the study. Researchers concluded that "addressing racial disparities in body weight-related outcomes requires health practitioners to modify obesity prevention and treatment efforts to incorporate a broader array of factors inherent to specific racial and gender populations" (Bruce et al., JNMA, October 2007).